QUOTES: Fraser, Valentin, and GM talk about the first round SuperDraft pick

'Zarek was our number one choice': Fraser

Chivas USA Head Coach Robin Fraser

On taking Zarek Valentin with the fourth overall pick:

“Zarek was our number one choice. He’s a player that we identified that we wanted so badly. We talked so much about team, and building a team and the right characters, he’s got all that. He’s a great player, a very thoughtful player, tons of character, great leadership, I think he’s got a really bright and he’s a good part of this building process for us.”

On Valentin having played with other Chivas USA players, Blair Gavin and Ben Zemanski, at Akron:

“Anything you can do to establish continuity is a great thing. He comes in, he’s familiar with some of the players, he’s played with the youth National Team so he’s got some international experience, he’s comfortable on the ball; you put all that together and he’s the perfect package for us.”

On what he saw in Valentin:

“He wasn’t in the Combine, he was with the U-20’s so we saw him play a couple of times with the U-20’s. I saw in play a couple of times in December with the U-20’s and then I saw him play with Akron as well, and every time I saw him he impressed me more. The more I watched him, the more closely I watched him, the more characteristics I saw in him that I really liked and respected, so you put the whole thing together and I think he’s the right person for us.

On the two first-round picks:

I’m really, really excited about both of them. I think both of them have a tremendous upside. Zarek is a proven winner, he’s a leader, he’s very vocal, has a very good understanding of the game, very, very solid, so I feel like he’s an important part of what we’re trying to do. With Victor, he’s a little different. He’s a little different than some of the other forwards we’ve seen. We feel like he’s got a real good understanding of the game, and his movement is that of a very true striker. He does a lot of things that make us think that he has a lot of promise and a bright future ahead of him.

Chivas USA defender Zarek Valentin

General thoughts on his selection by Chivas USA:

“It’s been amazing. That was probably the team I wanted to go to the most. I’ve actually seen Chivas play in Mexico a couple times, and seeing the atmosphere there with the whole team, and then actually seeing them play in L.A. a couple times, it’s just been amazing. My buddies Blair [Gavin] and Ben [Zemanski] play on the team, so it’s good to have them help me with everything, and I’ve only heard amazing things. I’m just very, very excited.”

On playing with Blair and Ben:

“I actually played right behind them as a center back and it was amazing. They are both class players, they’re very good with their feet and they’re very good defensively and everything. It’s just been amazing. They’re just such good players and good people.”

On working with new Head Coach Robin Fraser:

“I met him recently. He’s such a great guy and I like the vision he and the whole organization have going forward and I think it’ll be a very good situation for me and for everyone else that comes along.”

On the pressure facing Chivas USA in 2011:

“I think it’ll be good. I know we have a young team and they made strides last year in a bunch of different areas, with Justin [Braun] and Blair, and all the guys that came on, and I think that we’ll have a very good squad and could potentially do a lot better than last year.”

On if he expected to be picked by Chivas:

“I had a little bit of a feeling and I almost wanted to go there, seeing what Robin had in store, and everything that Chivas the organization, and the history behind the club, it seemed like the best fit. Luckily I got picked and it’s been amazing.”

Chivas USA Interim General Manager Jose Domene

On taking Zarek Valentin:

“We feel great. This was our guy, he was number one on our board. We were nervous that he wouldn’t fall to us, but in the end he did, and I’m very, very happy; I’m very, very excited.”

On what the technical staff saw in Valentin:

“We liked his leadership, his versatility, he can play right back, he can play center back. We did see him in the NCAA tournament and then we saw him with the U.S. Under-20 National Team. We think he’s going to be a great leader, and he’s a pick for the future. He’s going to stay here for many, many years.”

On selecting Victor Estupiñan with the 14th overall pick:

“We saw Victor Estupiñan back at the Combine. We thought he was very explosive. He could become a very strong, explosive player very quick. He’s good with his head, and I think we’re going to have patience with him to develop him to be a great soccer player for this team. How it happened was Salt Lake called us to see if we wanted to trade for the pick, we saw that Estupiñan was still there, and we decided to pull the trigger.”